Hardie banned for three months

The Rugby Paper - - British Rugby -

ED­IN­BURGH and Scot­land flanker John Hardie has been handed a three-month sus­pen­sion by Scot­tish Rugby for “gross mis­con­duct” over al­leged co­caine use.

The ban is “part of a range of sanc­tions”, run­ning from the date of his ini­tial sus­pen­sion in midOc­to­ber.

He will not be avail­able for se­lec­tion by Ed­in­burgh un­til mid-Jan­uary 2018.

“I would like to apol­o­gise to ev­ery­one for putting my­self in this sit­u­a­tion,” said New Zealand-born Hardie, 29, who has won 16 Scot­land caps since 2015.

“Through my ac­tions I feel I have let my club, my team-mates and the fans down. I want to ac­knowl­edge the sup­port I have had from Ed­in­burgh Rugby and Scot­tish Rugby in deal­ing with the is­sue.”

Hardie was un­avail­able to Scot­land for the au­tumn Tests after news of his ini­tial sus­pen­sion emerged be­fore head coach Gre­gor Townsend named his squad.

An Ed­in­burgh Rugby spokesper­son said: “John has ac­knowl­edged the se­ri­ous mis­take he has made as a pro­fes­sional ath­lete and has ac­cepted full re­spon­si­bil­ity for his con­duct.

“It has been made clear we are not pre­pared to tol­er­ate the be­hav­iour which caused this sit­u­a­tion.”

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